I have an ever growing lust list of food porn I yearn to try. I scroll through imagery, read through posts and dream of tasting decadent descriptions of dishes created by Chefs around the world. When stumbling upon photography of the food at INK, my heart (stomach?) skipped a beat. Finding that the gallery containing such works was located in my city, a rare occurrence in my international searches, was a flashing beacon, a sign.
I immediately rang up and begged for a reservation to celebrate a birthday in less than 48 hours, requesting the 72 hour menu. Despite my nightmarish request, they were not only charming on the other end of the phone, they were accommodating of my booking. You see, the 72 hour menu is named this as it is created and devised 72 hours in advance. After listing any dietary requirements, Chef Martyn Meid creates a personal journey of 7 courses specially for you and your dining partner.
Beginning the drive from West to East London in the dark, pouring rain with steaming windows, traffic jams and near misses with careless drivers, we might as well have been traveling to a foreign country. Finally arriving at the remote streets of Bethnal Green, we began our hunt for the restaurant, continuing our adventure. With a little guidance, literally, by Chef himself on the phone, we found it. We rushed inside out of the cold, to a spacious, minimalist room. Our lovely host of the evening, whom I believe to be the manager, sat us at our table directly next to the open kitchen. Chef was only a few feet away and would soon spend the evening bringing us dishes back and forth from the pass.
To begin our 7 course journey, we were brought an amuse bouche of trout caviar on rye bread with yoghurt, the first nod towards Nordic influence. Our first dish was perfectly cooked scallops with peach puree, burnt onion and pork crackling. A simple but complimentary combination of sweet and savoury.
This was followed by cured venison with beetroot textures and cranberries. The meaty chunks of beetroot almost make the pieces of beautifully cured venison seem lighter and sweeter than the vegetable itself.
A large white plate played canvas to an attractive dish of mackerel with cucumber textures and volcanic ash. Each bite was pleasingly cool, sour, sweet and smoky. A perplexing combination that left me wanting more.
This was followed by perfectly cooked trout with burnt rye topping, trout caviar, yoghurt and ash. A welcome bite of warmth with a continued theme of subtlety in flavouring. We looked on as Chef Meid continued his creations.
Our final dish of our savoury trip was a tender, slow cooked pork belly with butter cabbage, luscious mashed potatoes and oyster jus. A bowl of the mashed potato would have kept me happy, but the meat fell apart, with the salty jus making it even more succulent.
Our final taste of INK was a darling bowl with two portions of raw, salted chocolate. This was rich, creamy and decadent, leaving me literally asking for more. I even challenged them, saying I could eat a cereal bowl sized portion, to which they both denied. The next time they consider attempting this, I’ve secured an invite.
INK is definitely a hike to get to, but more than worth making the trip. The creations that come out of Chef Martyn’s kitchen are simple, stunning and delicious. This is the perfect spot for a romantic date for true foodies.
If you give it a visit, tag me in your pictures @Alessandra_LDN and tell me what you think in the comments below.